Final Minutes

The Strykers pulled back onto the FOB, about a week or so ago, and the ramps dropped. We piled out and pointed our rifles at the clearing barrels.



We mounted back up, stripping off our gear and shutting radios down. I didn't know it at the time, but that was my last mission.

We turned in all sorts of high tech sensitive type items and gadgets. Turned in what ammo we had left. Cleaned gear, packed huge metal containers, the type of shit you see at docks, repacked them, unpacked them, had them inspected. We kept busy with all manner of Preparing To Leave busywork. And the whole time, it was never real.

Just going to a new tent. Maybe a new FOB. That's it. The States? Shit son, that's just a myth to keep morale up. There is no world, there is only Iraq.

We had all sorts of formations and award ceremonies and horse and pony cuteness on top of the scrubbing of body armor and the chainsmoking of cigarettes. Got me that fancy Army Commendation award, and wouldn't ya know it, El Tee pinned that Combat Infantryman Badge on my chest. Pushed the needles in all slow like. I don't remember where I put it, if I even kept it.

Asinine traditions aside, the best part is realizing that you will never shake another Iraqi hand (probably not, anyway). Never hear the screech of, "Mistah! Mistah! FOOTBALL! CHOCOLATA!" Never smell the burning trash and shit and body odor stench of Baghdad again. God I better not.

Not worry if a house is going to explode when I walk into it. Hopefully.

Not worry that some chubby woman in black is going to explode once she gets close enough to me. I pray.

Not worry about shit exploding in the road, about assholes with table cloths wrapped around their heads shooting at me for no particularly good reason. None of it.

Nah, truth is, shit like that, just might stick with you for a while. So be it. I can check my corners while I'm renting DVDs. Small price to pay.

This place isn't my problem anymore. In a matter of days, it'll just be another name in the newspaper. Headlines and warped stories nowhere near the truth. No more body armor, no more rifle, no more ammo or night vision or knee pads or helmets, only thing left is the idiot-patterned uniform.

Yeah, tap the kegs and hand over the American luxuries, in excess. The world can eat my ass, because I've done my time in Purgatory. As far as I'm concerned, I have no sins, never did. Sweated them all away. Blood, sweat, tears. Hell, I even have some credit now. Got some goodness to burn off. Sounds great.

It's over. Never bother me again.
Fuck you Baghdad.
Fuck you, Dourah.
Fuck you, Baqubah.
Fuck you, Iraq. Fuck you, Kuwait.
Fuck you mosques and run down schools and pitiful masonry and stripped down "houses".
Fuck you, donkey.
Fuck you, mangey dog.
Fuck you, screeching children.
Fuck you, corrupt militia dude.
Fuck you, lazy public defender.
Fuck you, Stryker.
Fuck you, M4.
Fuck you, FOB Warhorse.
Fuck you, pitiful attempt at a Pizza Hut.
Fuck you, bootleg DVD vendors.
Fuck you, Iraqi people with your cotton track suits.
Fuck you, soccer.
Fuck you, triple digit heat.

Fuck y'all. I'm out. It's over. Done. I've fulfilled my commitment. Enlisted with a mission in mind, and I did it. It's over.

Now how the fuck am I supposed to take my last year in the Army seriously? My mission is complete. Part Three oughta be interesting.

Shamming, short-timing, scheming. Cuz fuck it, it's all over for me. Garrison life is a complete joke. Tradition? Multiple formations just because the clock reads a certain time? Pristine uniforms and customs and courtesies? Come on. You gotta be joking.

It's going to be a rough year.



  1. Anonymous said...
    Safe travels to you all. As always, you and the Warhorse guys are in my thoughts and prayers.
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/27/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    Anonymous said...
    Congrats on the ARCOM, congrats on your return, and congrats on your perspective.

    We're proud of you.
    Alex said...
    It's great to think of everything being the last time. The last time you do your laundry, the last time you clear your weapon, the last time you consider a chubby girl in ACUs fuckable. It all gloriously comes to an end.

    Glad you made it out. Enjoy the nice Washington weather.

    BigD said...
    Random thoughts...
    1. The last mission...hallelujah!

    2. Congrats on the CIB, you may not want it, but, you sure did earn it! It should come with a big fat check!

    3. That's a lot of f*ck you's, but all well deserved!

    4. I hate soccer too!

    And finally as to how you will make it through the rest of your Army time in garrison with all the Army pomp and circumstance...as my Mom would always say (and I always hated it) "Let's cross that bridge when we come to it." Come on home now, it's done!

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